Hotel Review: Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana
Max and I checked in on DAY ONE of the grand re-opening of the Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana in July 2020. The joint Ziva and Zilara properties had opened just before COVID-19 hit in November of 2019 and had only been open a few months before they had to shut down due to coronavirus. This reopening really felt more like a grand opening – complete with a big band, ribbon cutting for all guests checking in on day 1 and so much excitement. The property truly blew us away in every category – and that’s saying a lot as we have stayed at a number of hotels in the Punta Cana area (more of those here). We had previously been in contact with the property to be part of the video they were filming for the first guests and we had no idea what we were in for – it was a blast! More about that in lobby & check in…
The Hyatt Ziva and Zilara are located as part of one complex on the beautiful Playa Juanillo inside the Cap Cana gated community. Cap Cana is a newer development with tight security that includes a number of luxury hotels, apartments and homes. Arguably, Cap Cana has the most beautiful water in Punta Cana and it feels exclusive and safe.
The Hyatt properties, while technically two hotels, share an expansive property and guests have access across both. Zilara is the adult’s only property where guests must be 18 or older to enjoy the amenities. Ziva is the family-friendly side. Both properties offer a distinctive style, but share the same incredible view and endless teal water that is, for the most part, free of Sargassum seaweed thanks to a large border along the entire beach. The only other hotel next to the Hyatt is Secrets Cap Cana and to the right is a beach club, so the beach, while not private, shares only with a few other entities.
Lobby & Check in experience: 5/5
While our experience was exceptional, thanks for arriving on Day 1 of the reopening, the lobby and check in experience is generally wonderful. Due to the opening, we checked into the stunning Ziva lobby with a band, ribbon cutting and greeting from the entire management team of the hotel. It was honestly incredible and we’ll be sure to share the video here when it launches from Hyatt :).
If you’re not arriving on opening day, here is what you can expect. Both lobbies offer the same experience – they are beautiful, open air lobbies with ample seating areas, a bar and a coffee shop. We were checking into the Club Level so Club Level guests proceed to the Club Lounge behind the lobby to check in. All guests receive a welcome cocktail and are checked in by friendly staff. At the Club Lounge, you meet your butler and are given a tour of the property on the way to your room. Your luggage is handled by the bell staff and meets you at your room.
The lobbies have views of the entire property and sea beyond. We usually don’t spend much time in lobbies, but this was an exception. The coffee shop here provides delicious coffee-to-go as well as a beautiful bar in the evenings.
We had the chance to see rooms in both Zilara and Ziva and both have their own unique design (while we did prefer Zilara’s style). We checked into our Ocean View One Bedroom Master Suite on the 5th floor and were floored the moment we walked in. At 1,238 square feet, the living space was large, comfortable and beautifully designed. The outdoor balcony spanned the entire length of the suite and included an outdoor jacuzzi, seating area, table for two and beautiful views.
There is a dining table, large sofa and massive 55 inch TV (trust me, big deal in the Dominican) in the living room as well as an equally-big TV in the king bedroom, complete with a luxurious bathroom with a soaking tub and shower. There is also an entirely separate second bathroom in the living room, complete with a shower.
While we don’t love the toiletry products the Ziva and Zilara have, but they were plentiful. We loved sitting on the balcony at night, watching the teal blue sea from above and sinking into a delicious king bed at the end of a sunny day.
We saw a few comparable rooms at the Ziva and did enjoy those as well. The Ziva offers more “family friendly” furniture and decor, as well as sofa beds to accommodate additional family members. We personally preferred the style on the Zilara side because we really loved the artwork and decor in the room.
Club level at the Hyatt properties are a great value, in our opinion. Typically, at all-inclusives, I am not sold on club level since everything is already included and I don’t usually feel the need to pay more for slightly better alcohol at one or two bars that you have to go find as a club guest. However, at this Hyatt complex, club guests have access to breakfast and lunch at the two beachfront a-la-carte restaurants. Guests not in the club level only have access to those restaurants for dinner and we loved our morning meals at Chinola’s. Typically, Shutters is also open but due to the occupancy being so low, they only opened Chinola’s during our stay. We are not big buffet people so having access to excellent, oceanfront a-la-carte options is ideal for us and a worthwhile upgrade.
Between the two Hyatt properties, you will never be bored. There is a large spa, water park, multiple pools, incredible beachfront with activities, paid excursions and 29 bars! We were there when there were maximum 100 people there so we had the entire resort to ourselves and can honestly say there is too much to do in three short days. There are endless pool and beach chairs so as occupancy gets higher, it feels like there won’t be issues there.
There is a club level pool situated behind the main pool as well with their own seating and cabanas for those concerned about seating. The club level pool bar has upgraded alcohol as well and is a great area if you are not super focused on the beach. Our style is typically to relax on the beach, but we had a cabana on the main pool facing the ocean so we were happy as could be.
To be totally honest, the food and beverage experience here really shocked us in the best way possible. We’ve stayed at the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos and the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta and let’s just say the F&B was incomparable. The restaurants are clever, well designed and the themes were so much fun.
While several of the outlets were closed due the rotational schedule of the restaurants, we were able to try a number of them and can highly recommend the following:
Brandos was by FAR our favorite, and not just because you get to sit in cool nest-like structures over water, but because the food is impeccable. Nice portion sizes, beautiful presentation and delicious cocktails make for a perfect meal with excellent service. Rainny and Gabriella were excellent hosts and due to COVID, we had our own entire nest all to ourselves.
Journeys is the Indian themed restaurant that also has a train car. We sat inside the train car, which makes for an incredible experience that really did make us feel like we were in India. The food was excellent, particularly the Samosas (YUM) and the butter chicken. We let the staff choose their favorites to serve us and we don’t regret it. We were really impressed with the quality of the food overall as well as the delicious, creative cocktails.
Typically, in good weather, private dining experiences happen outside on the beach. However, due to the iffy weather, we were invited to a private dining experience inside at Brando’s. We were very excited about it because we love that restaurant style. We had a pre-fixe menu with wine pairing (including some of my favorite wines) and it was exceptional. This elevated experience also was accompanied with a video before each course that detailed how the chef made the course. It’s about as close as you’ll come to a chef’s table in Covid times.
We went to Chinola each morning for breakfast and once for lunch. The food is classified as more of a “healthy” “California” style cuisine. They offered everything from Paleo, to vegetarian to vegan to Keto items on the menu. The breakfast was pretty good, but lunch was exceptional. I probably wouldn’t recommend the avocado toast for breakfast- I consider myself an expert Avocado toaster so I wasn’t too impressed ;). However, their lunch was delicious – particularly the fish dishes. I loved the seared tuna.
We had lunch at Presto (located behind Waves near the pool) and the pizza is made in a real wood-fired oven. They make a variety of pizzas, but I have a whey allergy so I asked if they could make me a goat cheese pizza instead. Fabio didn’t have any goat cheese but he asked if we could give him a few minutes. He returned five minutes later with a plate FULL of delicious goat cheese from god-knows-where. It ended up being an excellent pizza and I was so happy because it’s something I usually don’t get to indulge in. They also ran to the club lounge to get us Rosé wine because they didn’t have any at the restaurant. Needless to say, I love them.
Room service is also included 24/7 and during COVID they are delivering room service in a contactless format. The delivery is put on a fold up stool outside your door. They ring your doorbell and when you answer they wait for you down the hallway and grab the stool once you get your bag of food. It was really clever and very much like Uber Eats. The food is served in surprisingly nice compostable containers with bamboo forks and knives. We enjoyed a few snacks out on our balcony, thanks to the great room service.
Overall, we absolutely loved the food. We’re excited to return once the opening days are over to see if they’ve been able to maintain the same quality and service as they did during this time. I have no doubt they will as our conversations with the director of food and beverage left me confident that they have figured out a way to scale this amazing experience. The management and quality of the food was incredibly high. We’re also very excited to experience their other restaurants (always wanted to try Shutters!)
We have nothing but wonderful things to say about the service at Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana. From the moment we arrived, we felt very well taken care of and safe, particularly with their COVID-19 precautions. Enger, our butler, was attentive via Whatsapp and always around to help us. He brought bottles of Sauvignon Blanc to our room because he knew we liked a glass before dinner on our balcony and brought anything we needed when we needed it.
Service at restaurants was excellent across the board as well. Felix and Leidis at the cabanas ran around constantly and Felix even made Aperol Spritz’s for me without me needing to ask because I love them. Their cocktails were excellent across the board and everything was serviced with a smile. They remembered our preferences at restaurants for sparkling water, remembered our room numbers and were generally very focused on providing excellent service. I will be so curious and excited to return to see if they’ve been able to maintain the level of attentiveness I became very used to in our stay there.
Housekeeping was also excellent. They came daily to service our room and did an excellent job. They never disturbed us and always came when we were out to breakfast or out on the beach. During this time, there was no turndown due to COVID-19 and typically housekeeping comes only every 3 days unless you request otherwise.
A worthwhile mention is the welcome cocktail party the management hosted the night of the re-opening. All of the management were there to say hi, they even made a video welcoming every single guest by name to the property. There were fireworks, cocktails and cleverly served appetizers. All-around, it’s clear that management cares deeply about their guests.
The Style at the Zilara and Ziva were both unique. Ziva had more of the natural woods, jungle vibes and Zilara had more of the “sophisticated” lines and modern elements. Both were beautifully done and different. The restaurant styles were also exceptional – from the train car to the nest-structures in Brandos, dining is unique and a true experience. The rooms were beautiful, clean and had great decor. While you know that every room looks exactly like yours, it still was a very comfortable and luxurious place to come home to at the end of the night.
We loved that there were so many different bars and seating areas around the property to relax as well as stylish firepits, cabanas and lounge areas. The property is still new but we are excited to see how the property develops over time.
Overall, we had an exceptional experience at Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana. The service, the beachfront, the food truly blew us away and we’re very excited to return. Of all our Hyatt all-inclusive experiences, this one tops the list and we can’t recommend it enough. We do hope to have the chance to return in a few months as their occupancy grows to see how they’ve been able to scale their incredible offerings.
COVID-19 Safety Rating: 4.5/5
As promised, we have our brand new COVID-19 Safety Rating that we do not count towards the overall rating for our hotels. We feel it’s incredibly important to highlight what hotels are doing to make guests feel comfortable and safe during this pandemic. Hyatt Zilara is part of Playa Hotels, the same company that runs the Sanctuary Cap Cana that we had previously stayed at. Therefore, many of the same elements in terms of COVID safety were prevalent.
The valets who took our luggage did also sanitize our bags before they entered the property. While we did not have our temperature checked, we did have this done at the gate when we arrived a few days before. There is plexiglass between the check in desks and guests and all staff are required to wear masks and face shields at all times. We never saw a staff member without a mask. All the staff also had nice photos on pins of themselves, which we loved, because you were able to see their name and face under the mask.
Our room had a sanitized label stuck to it and when we opened the door for the first time, it was clear that we had been the only people to enter the room since it had been disinfected. The room was spotless and multiple items were removed to make it easier for staff to clean, including coffee machines, robes, slippers and some decor. You can request these items, which we did, and they arrive in a sanitized bag.
Room service arrives in compostable, sanitized bag on a foldout stool. The staff member stands at a distance, waits for you to pick up the bag and then retrieves the fold out stool. This was impeccably well done. There was no confusion, no fumbling and you never had to get too close to the delivery person. Room service menus are on the TV, as well as the hotel info. Guests can also find restaurant menus, activities and hotel info on an app for your phone.
We couldn’t give them 5 stars, however, because they did not require guests to wear masks in public spaces and even went so far to tell us “don’t worry, you don’t need to wear your masks- you’re on vacation!” Unfortunately, just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you can’t get sick. COVID doesn’t go away and you cannot pretend it doesn’t exist. We strongly hope this changes during this time and we are particularly sensitive to this. We wear our masks 100% of the time in public around others and when interacting with guests and staff. Out of respect to the staff and other guests, we encourage all travelers to wear masks in public and when interacting with others.
Overall, we were very impressed with the COVID precautions the hotel took and we felt very comfortable during our stay. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this property to others looking for a relaxing, and safe, place to stay.
Thank you. Best review so far
Are there wristbands and you can go on both properties? Sorry if I missed it.
Hey there! Thanks for your comment! We did not have to wear wristbands at the resort — I am not sure if it was just because there were very few people there or if it’s a standard thing, but no one had wristbands.
Thanks so much!!
Hello! Thank you for sharing this elaborate review. This was super helpful! Are the restaurants air conditioned? We’re planning our honeymoon at this resort in June and looking forward to it!
Hey there! Thanks so much for your comment :). Yes, the restaurants are air conditioned inside. I hope you enjoy your honeymoon!! Definitely recommend Brando’s for a romantic meal! Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions!
Stephen R Owen
Outstanding review, I also watched your video, which was also excellent. We are booked at the Zilara in late July 2021. I do not see the room type you described in the review, a room with over 1200 square feet of space, on their website.
Can you identify the room you were referencing please.
Hey Stephen! Thanks so much for your comment- we appreciate your compliments! How exciting- we are so jealous! The room type we stayed in is called the “One Bedroom Master Suite” – there are not that many of them so its possible they are sold out, but you can also inquire if you call but here is the link to the room on their site: https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/dominican-republic/hyatt-zilara-cap-cana/pujia/rooms/suites/2VST. The step up from that room type is the Grand Master suite. Let us know if you have any questions!
Hi Voyager Guru,
Trying to choose which room? The One bedroom master suite vs grand master suite vs king oceanfront. I love the idea of oceanfront and close to the water with great views; but the other ones have outside tub and lots of square feet. Your thoughts?
This is one of the first reviews I’ve come across and I keep coming back to it! I was wondering, for an all-inclusive place, did you tip? and pesos or USD? My wife and I don’t plan on leaving the resort much so I just want to be prepared. Also another reviewer who was there at the grand opening in 2019 said the bugs and mosquitoes were pretty bad. Did you have any issues with them?
Hey Philip! Thanks so much for your comment! Regarding tipping, it is pretty normal in the Dominican Republic. We were there at an odd time and it was not very expected since the staff were frankly just super grateful to be busy. However, knowing how it is at other resorts, I’d say if you experience GOOD, like genuinely good, service, a tip goes a long way. USD is very common at the resorts so don’t worry about needing to exchange the money. Tipping the beach waiters, for example, $5 is very kind and generous. For reference, $5 is about 290 pesos right now, which is a LOT.
Regarding mosquitos, we did not have any issues this summer. I will say, it’s likely that they have eradicated a lot of the bug issues as most hotels do extensive fumigation over time.
I hope that helps, let us know if you have any other questions!
I have to say nothing has changed since you visited. I spent 5 days at Zilara in November and it was amazing. So amazing I rebooked for my birthday in August. I also had Enger as my butler and he made our stay that much more special. While I didn’t get to try Brandos or Shutters, we tried Tempest Table, Noodle & Thread and Waves. All were excellent. I may become a yearly visitor to Zilara.
Thanks so much for your comment :). I’m SO glad to hear nothing has changed!! Enger is such a gem – I am happy to hear he made your stay more special! You will have to try Brando’s when you return!! It’s sooo great. I hope we can go back soon too.
This is a great review, I was trying to decide between Hyatt Zilara and Secrets Cap Cana and you definitely helped make our decision for our Honeymoon this May!
Hey Meaghan! Thanks so much for your comment :). That is great to hear! Do let us know if you have any questions – we hope you have the best time and congratulations!
HI! I read in an earlier review that there wasn’t any food service at the beach or by the pool. I will be with my three kids, so hoping we don’t have to head all the way back to a restaurant to feed them lunch, etc. Does anyone know if that is the case? I’d love to be able to order some food to the beach or by the pool. Thanks! We are hoping to go in late June for a week with our sons (ages 12-15).
Hey Annie! Thanks for reaching out. They do not currently deliver food to the pools or beaches, unfortunately. We were bummed by this too. However, there are quick “to go” options or the restaurants located right next to the pool so that could be a good option for you. The food at the pizza bar on the zilara side was amazing for lunch and just steps from the pool. There is also one on the ziva side :). Let us know if you have any other questions! I’m sure you will have a BLAST! It truly is paradise.
Can children staying on the Ziva side go to restaurants in the adults only side Zilara or are they only able to eat on the Ziva side?
Thanks for reaching out! Unfortunately, no children are allowed to come to the zilara side. However, there are so many amazing restaurants on both sides! We saw many parents on romantic dinners alone without their kids too, so always an option ;). Let me know if you have any other questions!
Could you tell me which water activities are available and if they are included? Also, how was the beach and was the water calm? Is the beach rocky at all? Are you able to take long walks on the beach?
We stayed at the Hyatt Ziva in los Cabo’s and were disappointed in both the food and drinks. Glad to hear this is much better. For the club level is premium alcohol available at all of the bars or only at a few? In the restaurants?
Hi Denise! Thanks so much for your comment. Non-motorized water sports are included (so things like kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing, snorkeling). The beach is incredible- definitely the best beach in the punta cana area. The sand is white, soft and walkable. The ocean is a beautiful teal blue and there really not any rocks or coral in the vicinity. There is a sargassum barrier off the coast there that keeps out the seaweed in the summer so the beach is not nearly as affected as the Bavaro area. The beach isn’t massive- but its a nice walk. There are basically three properties on this beach – you can see the satellite view on google maps if you look up “playa juanillo”. It’s a very safe, quiet beach and the ocean is perfectly swimmable.
I hear you on the disappointment of the Ziva in Cabo. In general, I think Cabo is not a great beach destination for folks looking to spend a long time in the ocean since the waves are terrible there- the beach at the Cap Cana property is literally the opposite. The food and beverage is amazing at Cap Cana as well – seriously unreal. A few people have confirmed that it is still this way so I’m glad that they are maintaining the quality.
For club level, there are a few premium bars on property. I did notice that when I would ask for something particular, they would go find it, even if they had to go to the premium bar to get it. This happened a few times, but notably at the pizza restaurant when I asked for the club level rosé. Of course, I can’t confirm if they will always do this, but when there weren’t many guests around they did. There is a premium bar at the pool and then in the club lounge. They are overall very accommodating so if you have specific requests, I have no doubt they would try and fulfill it.
Let us know if have any other questions!
What do you mean by club level? We have globalist status and was wondering if that is what you mean?
Thank you so much for your comment! The club level is a room type upgrade available at the Hyatt. There are some additional perks when booking club level – for example, a private lounge check in, upgraded alcohol and a private club level pool. I believe with Globalist you can utilize a club upgrade or suite upgrade cert and that would give you access to the club level :). Let me know if you have any other questions!
Hi, I was told that a number of wines are in the all-inclusive package, but I can’t find any wine-list. Do you know where to find one, a link, a PDF?
Hello Peter, thanks for reaching out! There are a few options, not a whole lot, but there is Azteca red wine (it’s a cab sauv blend), Rosé (dry, not sure the brand) and Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. That’s it for included wines, but they were quite good!
Thank you ! In the meantime we have booked Zilara Cap Cana for next year to celebrate my parents’ 50th anniversary and we can’t wait.
Hi Peter! Thanks for your comment :). That sounds so wonderful!!! Safe travels to you and please don’t hesitate to reach out via email or social media if you have any questions 🙂 firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi! Looking for a place to travel next April. Unfortunately, I will have to travel alone. Looking for something to relax, good food & beverages and some (night) entertainment. Do you guys think this is a place to go for a solo traveller? Or would you recommend a different place/hotel?
Greetings from Germany
Thanks for the review! I found it to be the most helpful and informative of the ones I read/watched!
Hi Katherine! Thanks for your comment- we really appreciate that! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions anytime 🙂
We are debating between this hotel and the Hilton Romana (the family resorts as we are travelling with kids). Which did you prefer out of the two? They both look incredible, and your reviews on both were great.
Hi Jas! Thanks for your comment. They are both excellent choices – I would, though, say Hyatt Zilara has better food/service and the rooms are quite a bit larger and newer. Hilton took over from an old Dreams property, and while the property itself is stunning, the rooms are much smaller because it is a bit older. Hilton La Romana is amazing and typically a bit cheaper than Hyatt, but if I were going to pick one of the two regardless of budget, I would say Hyatt. The quality of their food and beverages was extremely high.
Hi! Thanks for your review! I am looking into places to visit for a trip with my boyfriend and we’re looking at this. I was wondering though if the nightlife gets rowdy? We want relaxing vibes not party vibes, it’s our first time ever doing all-inclusive and so not quite sure what to expect.
Thank you in advance!!
Hi Staci! Thanks for your comment. If you’re looking for relaxing, the Hyatt is DEFINITELY up there. There is really no rowdy type of environment there (thank goodness). The sports bar is essentially the only late-night experience and it’s not so much rowdy as it is fun and vibrant. It’s very easy to avoid the sports bar, though, if you’re not looking to do that. In general, the Hyatt is extremely classy and high end so you’re more likely to find honeymooners, anniversary couples and more romantic holiday vibes, especially on the zilara side. Hope this helps!
Hello! We will be staying at the Zilara in April. Do you know if the resort has a filtered water system throughout? I’ve read the restaurant’s do and bottled water is plentiful, but specifically wondering if it’s safe to use the tap in your room for things like brushing teeth, etc? Thanks!
Hey Kay! Thanks for reaching out! Yes, they do filter the water and you should have no issue brushing your teeth or doing anything with the water. I would not drink it, but even if you swallow some, it’s not bad. You can request extra water in the room for drinking at any time and they’ll bring you a case 🙂
Great review and very helpful! I was wondering what the dress code is for the restaurants..
Thank you so much, Gary! The dress code, I would say, is primarily shorts, sandals and a button down for dinner. At lunch, it’s ok to be totally dressed down, but some of the interior restaurants like Brando’s are going to have a bit more of a formal vibe. Though, you’re still in the Caribbean and pants are not required anywhere :).
Hi Voyager Guru,
Trying to choose which room? The One bedroom master suite vs grand master suite vs king oceanfront. I love the idea of oceanfront and close to the water with great views; but the other ones have outside tub and lots of square feet. Your thoughts?
Hi Michelle! Thanks for your comment. So we really like the master suite – we weren’t in the grand master suite but I know the price difference can be pretty high. I believe there’s only a few of the grand master suites and they are all on the ocean front side so its a good view from every angle. We loved the regular master suite- the size was pretty perfect for us, full living/dining, big bedroom and nice bathroom. I’d say if you’d rather have the full-on oceanfront go with the club level oceanfront king room or the grand master suite for guaranteed views. We are excellent views from the balcony and that was good enough for our personal taste, but I totally understand wanting to see the ocean right in front of you when you’re lying in bed, for example. You can’t go wrong- but I would consider what your budget is and then go from there (ocean front club king or grand master).
Thanks for this very thorough review. Even though its been a while since your visit, could you make a comparison between this and secrets cap cana? We are split between the 2 properties. Seems like there is an awful lot more to do at Zilara seeing how there are basically 2 resorts at your disposal.
Thanks in advance
Thank you so much for reaching gout! We have not yet stayed at Secrets, however, we did hear from a recent traveler that they were disappointed with the food quality at Secrets. I would say Zilara is worth it because it has so many activities, the rooms are fantastic and the food was very high quality. We got an update recently from a traveler who said the quality and amenities were excellent at Zilara and not much had changed since our visit :). I would say you can’t go wrong!